Worse Luck


This is the view from the kitchen window of my flat in Kensal Green in the afternoon. Soon after this was taken, the sun would set, as it’s winter now and the days have grown quite short. It’s a view I’ve become rather accustomed to seeing since I was made redundant. The chimneys, the Victorian rooftops, the vacant sky. It’s beautiful and sad. It comforts me and it torments me. I want to work, however it’s December and I’m still waiting on the work permit that my new job promised me by October.

Back in October when the visa didn’t come and hit its first delay, I told them very truthfully that I only had enough money to last me through November. I was assured that once I started working for them, I’d be given an advance to help pay my rent and bills, so I waited. What else could I do?

November came and they realized that the company that they had hired to work on my visa application had actually done nothing at all with it. In other words, in late November, I was told that all the waiting I had done up until that point was in vain: no progress whatsoever had been made. They assured me that now they were taking matters into their own hands and would push this forward immediately.

For this company, getting me to work there is a two-step process. First, they need to be able to sponsor a foreign worker. When I first accepted the position, I was told they already had this approval in place. That was quite sadly wrong. Second, I need to apply for the work permit to work for them. Once those two steps have been completed, I’m cleared to work.

When I say that nothing had been done by late November, I mean nothing: they weren’t even allowed to sponsor a foreign worker yet. Immediately they submitted their application to be a sponsor. I was told this would take several weeks. Today, 18 December 2009, was the day they were supposed to have this authorization. Two days ago, however, I was contacted by my recruiter and told of the latest hiccup: the company had forgotten to post the job publicly with a Job Centre, which they needed to do in order for me to apply for a work permit for that position. I was told this week that they did that immediately and that now I would have to wait until 12 January 2010 to apply for my work permit. My permit application, if I’m lucky, could get expedited and I could start work for them in late January.

The trouble is, I barely have any money. Since the bad news of mid-November, I’ve been putting every expense I can on credit. This debt will haunt me for years to come, but it’s helping me survive now, when I’m not even sure if I’ll have years to come. Rent is, probably thankfully, something you can’t put on a credit card.

Since I’ve been putting so much on credit, I can afford to pay my rent for January, but that’s it. They now say that I’ll have this job by late January and that they will advance me February rent once I start working for them, but if another unforeseen glitch occurs, I’m completely screwed. I’ll be unable to pay my rent and I’ll face eviction. I’ll have to pack up all my belongings as fast as possible, secure international movers within days and also buy last minute plane tickets for my wife and my cats and put those on credit as well.

It’s looking like my hand is forced to make a decision now. I need to buy late January plane tickets to my home country by next week, otherwise they’ll be insanely expensive. But is that the best choice? I have a job that wants to hire me, so they say, waiting for me here, but I have nothing at home. Going back in late January means staying with my wife and two cats in a friend’s spare room in their apartment while I look for work and try to save money for our own place. It will take a while to get back on my feet.

Aside from all this, there’s the stress of being wrenched out of my life here in London. Over the course of three years, one builds up a substantial life in a place. I have loads of good friends I’ll leave behind, plenty of travel left undone and tons of loose ends that will never get tied up. It’s fucking rotten.

I’ve begun aggressively looking for jobs in Chicago. Next week, it seems very likely that I will have to purchase one-way tickets to Chicago for the end of January. Everything completely sucks right now, but it will suck a lot less if I can line up a job before the move. At least then I’ll have an immediate source of income and will know I’ll soon be back in a more stable situation.

I’m an honest, hard-working web developer with many years of experience. I can do client-side creation of rich user interfaces as easily as server-side code and database administration. If you know of anyone in need of these skills in the Chicago area who would not only like a fantastic addition to their development team, but also to help out a hometown boy, please put them in touch with me. You can find my latest resume here.

Will it all work out? Everyone says it will, somehow, but what else are your friends going to say? No one would tell you even if they thought you’d soon be eating out of a garbage can.